The Lily Cafe Weekly Highlights – May 26, 2023

At Home

Is it Friday already? Well, I’m not sure where, exactly, the week has gone, but I’m glad it’s a three day weekend. Even if I’m up to my knees preparing for the summer and our vacation. I did so much laundry this week to wash a ton of new clothes we’ve gotten for our trip, but at least my daughter got to wear one of her favorite dresses twice in three days. My little princess does love her dresses! And her sparkle shoes.

Other than laundry, I’ve mostly kept occupied with trying to keep calm about how busy the next two weeks will be. There are so many end of the school year things planned, and my son has two field trips, and my daughter is graduating Kindergarten, and I have to plan an end of the year gift for one of the teachers, and that’s not even taking into account preparing summer stuff that’s due to start the Monday after the last day of school and the insane amount of time I’m going to end up spending on school-related things over the next week and a half. I’m afraid I’m going to have to take a bit of a break from blogging for the next two weeks or so. At least until we’re settled into a summer routine. I still plan on having June’s Curated Bookshelf going as well as these Weekly Highlights posts, but I think posting anything else might be pushing it a bit. I’ll be spending most of the next week and a half at my kids’ school or on field trips and then freaking out that my little baby will be officially moving into compulsory schooling.

And that’s it for this week! I got a lot of reading done, my daughter had a play date, and we’ve finally gotten all of our allergies under control. For now.

Book Impressions

Crazy Sweet by Lisa Volz

First Impression: I’ve enjoyed a couple of other books by Lisa, so I’m delighted to be able to review this one. Crazy Sweet sounds right up my alley with baking sprinkled with romance. I know I usually prefer murder to go along with my baking, but this one sounds like a lot of fun considering it’s about culinary school nemeses. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Middle Impression: This book is going to go by so fast. I flew through the baking competition half and seriously wanted more, so I’m glad the next part is focused on the food truck and romance part. Reading this makes my fingers itch to bake something; it all sounds so good. But I also love the characters, and I’m dying to see how the romance plays out. Food and mysteries have always held my heart, but this book is reminding me food and romance are a perfect pairing, too!

Last Impression: This was a really fun read. I could have done with a little more meat on the story and more romance between Nova and Dylan, but I loved all the baking and the wrenches thrown into the story. I also absolutely loved Linda, one of the contestants on the baking show who turned into a wonderful friend. The romance was very sweet, and I really did enjoy them together. The behind the scenes taping of the shows were really fun and has me looking at them in a different way now, though I can’t speak to how authentic it is.

Miranda Nights by Gail Ward Olmsted

miranda nights gail ward olmsted

First Impression: This is going to be fun! This is the second Miranda book and, since I absolutely adored Miranda in the first book, I know I’m going to enjoy this even though I have no clue what it’s about.

Middle Impression: I love Miranda to death. I wish I knew her in real life. She’s so much fun, and really cares about the people around her. The case she’s dealing with involves her best friend’s teen son, and, as a mother, it just pulls at my heartstrings. But Miranda also has a successful late night radio show, and someone is taking things a little too far. It’s hard to determine if this guy has it out for Miranda or if he actually cares; he’s just creepy and I’m dying to know who it is.

Last Impression: I can’t say it enough; I love Miranda. This one brought back beloved characters from the first book, and introduced new ones. I loved getting to see everyone again, and I loved the way their stories all wrapped up. The creepy guy stalking Miranda was definitely a fascinating story, and I really enjoyed it, as well as the case that was occurring at the same time that involved Miranda’s best friend’s teen son. It was great to see Miranda living in marital bliss, and I loved that they have a cat that’s so beloved to them. Overall, all I have to say is that I loved this book.

Cassandra in Reverse by Holly Smale

cassandra in reverse holly smale

First Impression: This reminds me of a couple of books I’ve read before, so I’m interested to read this take on it. Time travel has me a little on the fence, but this one sounds like it has an interesting premise and I’m hoping I’m not asked to buy in too far into the time travel. Also, I read the author was recently diagnoses with autism, so I’m hoping to see that in this book.

Middle Impression: I was a little hesitant about reading this one, but so far I’m really enjoying it. Cassandra is on the spectrum and, since we’re in her head, it gets really chaotic and overwhelming to read about her experiences, but I adore that piece of the story. Then there’s the fact that she can time travel. It’s only back to a certain point, but,within that time frame, she can travel back at will to alter her behavior. I’m not a big fan of this part as I feel like she has to change who she is, but there are also plenty of moments where she just lets her full self loose. I’m looking forward to see how she unravels and what she learns in the second half.

Current Progress: 58%. I’m starting to get a glimpse at what Cassandra learns about herself and her behavior as she time travels. There are times when I just want her to stop time traveling or just try to be honest about what’s going on in her head, but she can’t because that’s not who she is, and I do love just how much she struggles with being herself and being what everyone else wants her to be. It bothers me that no one seems to notice there’s clearly something different about her and they don’t try to understand her.

Mini Reviews

Chevrons Locked: The Unofficial Unauthorized Oral History of Stargate SG-1, The First 25 Years by Edward Gross

chevrons locked the unofficial unauthorized oral history of stargate sg 1 the first 25 years edward gross

Chevrons Locked made me relive some of my favorite moments from my teen years: watching Stargate SG-1 with my mom while surrounded by my mountain of homework. It was a fun respite from all the hard thinking I had to do, and it gave my mom and me time to bond. When I saw this book, I couldn’t not request it, even though non-fiction isn’t really my thing.

At the beginning of the later seasons, there was usually a sneak peek sort of episode where the cast and crew would talk about the characters, stories, and what was going to come up in the coming season. The first half of Chevrons Locked strongly reminded me of those shows. It’s split into different sections focusing on different aspects of the show and its history, and is just full of the cast and crew talking about the show. There are some bits and pieces from the author to help set the scene, segue into different areas, or provide context, but most of it was just snippets from interviews the author conducted.

It was a lot of fun to read this part. I did have a hard time keeping track of who was who, but I liked that it offered some information I hadn’t known about. It was great to kind of get a behind the scenes look to the entire series, starting from the movie and moving a bit into the spin-offs. I loved finding out more, but some of the information did become repetitive, like I read about the actor playing Daniel Jackson and his reasons for departing in the middle of the series numerous times that I eventually just started skipping over those parts. But I get it because these interviews were conducted one-on-one, I think during the pandemic. Some of it also wasn’t woven well together. Since one person would say something and then another person would say something and since they probably weren’t sitting next to each other, the fusing of them didn’t always work well. Sometimes it felt like I was jumping from one topic to another on the same thing, and sometimes half of what the second person said was basically a repeat of what the first person said. I got a little bogged down sometimes, but it was still fun to glean new information from them. I had always wondered why the show had switched to a different network and why I always felt a season behind.

The second half was equally fun and frustrating. It’s an episode guide for the entire Stargate: SG-1 show, so nothing on the Atlantis and Universe spin-offs. Now, since this show isn’t shown on TV, as far as I know, it’s been years since I last saw all of these episodes. Fortunately, I did see many of them often enough that I have vague to strong memories, but there are some I don’t recall. And I didn’t really watch the last two seasons since I was away at college, so it was a little difficult sometimes to figure out what each episode was about because the summaries were a bit vague, relied on the reader having either a very good memory or having seen it recently, and were a bit shorter than I would have liked. I really enjoyed reading about every episode, but there were many I had to just give up on trying to remember. What I did like, though, was that there were remarks from the cast and crew that went along with every episode. It was great to get a bit of a sneak peek and learn new information, but, sometimes, there were things I wanted to know about that just weren’t addressed.

Chevrons Locked was a fun read. I flew through it much faster than I thought I would, probably because the nostalgia factor was high. But it was still an entertaining and fun read that offered new information despite how repetitive it was.

3 cups of tea

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Featured Posts From the Cafe

I didn’t actually post more frequently than usual, but I feel oddly more accomplished than usual, but I think that might be because I finally got out a couple of posts I’d been waiting to share for about a month. My favorite book of the year so far finally publishes on Tuesday, so this week was kind of chatting it up here because I loved it so much. I talked about how it fulfilled the 2023 bookish wish I decided to not post and put out into the world, and then my review for it published yesterday. I also managed to write in The Queens twice and got those bits up. As for The Curated Bookshelf, I highlighted In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power, Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique by Samantha Verant, and Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young. These were all lovely gardens that took me to a fantasy world bearing Greek inspiration (I think), a small town in the Appalachian Mountains, Paris, and a magical island off Washington.

That Writing Update

Well, other than writing in The Queens twice, I didn’t get much writing done. I’ve mostly been preparing for the end of the school year and summer, as well as getting blog posts and trying to plan ahead. I did manage to finally finish Chapter Two of Coming Home a couple of nights ago, and then I started to fall asleep, so I put off starting Chapter Three. Maybe I’ll get around to it during the holiday weekend.

Featured Blog Post

Each week I aim to share my favorite post of the week. This week I really enjoyed The Emergence of AI & the New Fight for Art and Artists from Aquavenatus. With AI in the forefront these days, it’s hard to not think about what it might mean for all kinds of people and the work they do. As an aspiring author, I’m quite concerned, so I really enjoyed this post. It focuses on what AI might mean for literature, artwork, and music, and how some people are already trying to use it to get what they want.

See you next week, and thanks for reading!

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